Kathmandu, September 21
Local people of Kathmandu, who had been staging protests for the past three days over the curtailed funds for the traditional Indrajatra festival, have called off their stir and agreed to resume the stalled rituals following a deal with the government late Sunday.
The five-point agreement was reached after the agitating Newar community leaders and other stakeholders held talks with top-level government representatives including Finance Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.
The streets in the capital city of Kathmandu had remained tense since last Friday, the day when final rituals of the weeklong festival dedicated to rain god Indra were scheduled to be held. With the intensification of protests, traffic movement and business had come to a halt on Sunday.
According to the joint statement issued by the representatives of the government and representatives from religious organisations from Newar community, both sides agreed to resume the obstructed rituals and worships smoothly. They also agreed to maintain harmony and brotherhood for conducting the rituals without any hindrances.
The government has agreed to form a powerful panel within a month to promptly resolve the issue relating to the Guthi Sansthan’s role on the religious tradition and culture of the Newar community. The report prepared by the commission will be discussed with the representative organisations of the Newar community before putting it into implementation, according to the joint statement.
The Nepal government has regretted for the obstruction and inconvenience in the performance of the festival. The government has said that the police and the administration will extend necessary cooperation for solemnising the final rituals. The festival comes to an end with the pulling down of the Indradhoj, or the flag of Indra placed atop a massive wooden pole.
The deal has been signed by Finance Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai, Officiating Secretary Krishna Hari Baskota, CA Members Dr Mangal Siddhi Manandhar, Hitman Shakya, Dhyan Govinda Ranjit, Krishna Amatya, Buddha Sayami, leader of Pulukisi dance Mohan Krishna Dangol, leader of Lakhe dance Laxman Ram Ranjit, leader of Aakash Bhairab Sabadya dance Sagar Putuwa, representative of Kumari ghar Gautam Shakya, Sugib Bajracharya of Newa Jagaran Forum, Dr Keshv Man Shakya of Nepa Rastriya Party, Pabitra Bajracharya of Newa De Dabu, Pawan Man Shrestha of Newa Rastriya Mukti Morcha, Mangal Krishna Manandhar of Cetral Manandhar Association, Ramesh Man Munakir of Shree Shree Shree Kumari Sewa Samiti Bhakjaan Family, Mukti Pradhan of National Human Rights Concern Centre, Prakash Tamrakar of Sweta Bhairab, Dr Chunada Bahracharya of Democratic Newa Misa Struggle Committee, Kathmandu Chief District Officer Dhruba Sharma, Senior Superintendent of Police Bhisma Prasai, Superintendent of Police Sarbendra Khanal, Chief of Guthi Branch Office, Kathmandu, Achyut Pokhrel, Central Chairman of Jyapu Mahaguthi, Dipendra Maharjan and Superintendent of Armed Police Narayan Babu Thapa.
Meanwhile, Members of Parliament, speaking at the start of the Legislature-Parliament meeting today, stressed that the Government should given due attention towards protecting and promoting the various arts and culture in the country.
Hridayesh Tripathi of Tarai-Madhesh Loktantrik Party drew the attention of the Government towards respecting the culture and traditions of every Nepali community.
Prakash Man Singh of Nepali Congress demanded a reply from the Government on the effort made to hurt the 300 years old tradition of the Newar community of Kathmandu.
Buddha Ratna Manandhar of Nepa Rastriya Party accused the Finance Ministry of attacking the arts and culture in name of adopting austere measures.
Dr. Mangalsiddhi Manandhar of CPN (UML) said stopping the trend of giving animal sacrifices means to create a situation where the Newari culture and traditions would be extinct.
Nabindra Raj Joshi of Nepali Congress expressed the view that anomalies were being encouraged in the name of break of tradition and accused the Government of trying to do away with the 1400 years old culture of the residents of Kathmandu.
Sunil Prajapati of Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party urged to give attention to the fact that thousands of tourists come to witness the observing of festivals in Kathmandu valley, and that the special contribution by people of languages and nationalities to development of the society should not be ignored.
CA member Sadrul Miyan Haque complained that the Home Ministry had not provided any kind of support to the Haj pilgrims.